Gov't. rolls out a 'road map' to curb violence
Friday, August 22, 2008 12:38 PM
FRIDAY, AUG. 22: A Bermudian SWAT team, parental responsibility legislation and increased police presence on the streets are some of the ways the government says it will tackle increasing violence on our island.
Last night Premier Brown held a special session of Cabinet to come up with ways to curb anti-social behaviour - in particular among Bermuda's youth.
Today, Premier Brown spoke to the press about what they devised from that meeting - "a road map" toward tackling these issues.
"First and foremost, we will immediately increase police presence on the street and exert maximum pressure on the trade of drugs and weapons with a sustained crackdown by the Bermuda Police Service," Premier Brown said. "We will convene a legal panel within the next 10 days to review our laws to ensure they're able to deal adequately with the current climate of criminal behaviour we are seeing in our country. If the nature of our crimes has changed, then the laws will need to follow suit."
The government will also convene "Clergy Against Crime" - a panel of clergymen and women who will discuss ways to deal with anti-social behaviour as well as looking into the feasibility of an amnesty on weapons - particularly guns.
Premier Brown said that the government will focus much of its attention on anti-social behaviour in the public school system.
"In the short term, for the upcoming school year, we will insist upon meaningful intervention on the part of teachers and administrators when they detect a troubled student," he said. "Additionally, we will provide our schools with psychological and psychiatric care when necessary to treat where trouble is found. Plus you can expect us to revitalize a focus on life skills programming in the schools."
Premier Brown added that government will also instruct school administrators to hold their students to the "strictest of standards" when it comes to uniform and appearance.
He added that much of the action plan as it relates to schools came from those who spoke up at the Young Adult Mixer hosted by the Premier on Wednesday night.
"We will also look into the legality of making custodial parents responsible for the illegal activity of their children," he said. "Simultaneously we will look to add life skills training as a requirement to receive financial assistance from the Government. "
Premier Brown said that he believes the time has come to explore the formation of a Bermuda SWAT team.
"Those who chose gunfire to settle their disputes should be on alert," he said. "Your strongest stand yet against your senseless violence could be on the horizon.